Preparing for partial solar eclipse in Texas

With all the hype surrounding the solar eclipse on August 21st, many places in Austin will be holding viewing parties. If you want to see it come Monday, make sure you're prepared.

For Eanes ISD, August 21st just so happens to be their first day of school. They've decided to get creative when it comes to the solar eclipse. From inside the classroom, to outside  Eanes ISD wants students to have experiential learning.

"Taking the classroom outside, versus watching it on TV or hearing about it. Really going outside to experience it and probably understand it.  I think it's one of those things. People can kind of maybe explain an eclipse, the difference between a solar eclipse and lunar eclipse, and what does this really mean? I think this is something they'll have for the rest of their lives," said Principal Steve Ramsey, Westlake High School, Eanes ISD.

Elementary students will watch a live broadcast in the classroom. Students in grades 6-12th will be given approved eclipse glasses to watch outside. At Westlake High School they are even having a viewing event at their stadium. Dillon Finan is an instructional partner for STEM education. He came up with the idea, hoping to get students involved and tie it into lesson plans.

"For social studies you can put it into sort of a cultural context - how different cultures viewed the eclipse in the past. I know physics is going to look at how light bends around the moon and creates the corona, and the physics behind that. So, different courses are going to be looking at it in different ways," said Dillon Finan,instructional partner for STEM education, Westlake High School. 

NASA says the total eclipse will stretch from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. The last time the contiguous U.S. saw one was in 1979. It's essentially when the moon moves right in front of the sun, covering it completely for a very short time. Texas will see a partial solar eclipse, where the moon covers part of the sun's disk. According to NASA, it will begin around 11:41 a.m. and will peak around 1:10 p.m.

The only safe way to look at an uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is by using eclipse glasses or a hand-held solar viewer. They have to be dark enough so light can't pass through. If not, you can damage your eyes.

"Obviously we do, we take peeks at the sun and we're not going blind from that. But, if you do stare at it for a length of time, even up to 20-30 seconds, you could definitely burn your retina."

Dr. Emily Simonek said that could leave you with a permanent blind spot, something that can't be corrected.

NASA has some safety tips for those planning to view the eclipse:
-Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it.
-If you are outside the path of totality, which includes Texas, you must always use a safe solar filter to view the sun directly.   
-Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device.

Amazon is issuing a recall for some eclipse glasses that might be fake. According to the American Astronomical Society, you shouldn't be able to see anything through a safe solar filter except the sun itself or something comparably bright. Also make sure the glasses come from reputable manufacturers and authorized dealers of solar filters and viewers.

Click here for more.

   - Bastrop State Park - historic golf shelter
   - 11:30am - 2:30pm
Round Rock Solar Eclipse Viewing Party
   - Main Street Plaza Round Rock, 221 E. Main Street
   - 12:00pm - 2:00pm
UT Solar Eclipse Viewing Party
   - RLM 13.132 and other locations around campus
   - 11:30am - 3:00pm
Austin Public Library - Howson Branch viewing party
   - 2500 Exposition Blvd.
   - 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Pflugerville Public Library viewing party
   - 1008 W. Pfluger Street
   - 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Wells Branch Community Library Eclipse Viewing Party
   - 15001 Wells Port Drive
   - 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Buda Library Solar Eclipse Party
   - 303 Main Street, Buda TX
   - 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Taylor Public Library Solar Eclipse Viewing
   - 801 Vance Street, Taylor TX
   - 12:30pm - 1:30pm
Eclipse Day Party at Texas Museum of Science & Technology
   - 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park, TX
   - 10:00am - 4:00pm
Eclipse Viewing and Digital Planetarium Eclipse Show @ Austin Science & Nature Center
   - 2389 Stratford Drive
   - 11:00am - 2:00pm
Balcones Park Viewing Party
   - 12017 Amherst Drive
   - 1:10pm